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Unlocking Armagh's defence is key to victory: Evans

By John Campbell

Armagh will go into tomorrow's third round All-Ireland football qualifier against Roscommon conscious that their opponents have already been acquainted with a taste of what they can expect to confront at Dr Hyde Park.

When they beat Cavan last weekend, John Evans' side encountered a defensive set-up similar to that currently employed by Armagh – but perhaps lacking the experience that the Orchard County bring to the table.

Just as Armagh boss Paul Grimley is aware players such as rising star Diarmuid Murtagh, seasoned sharpshooter Cathal Cregg and the experienced Senan Kilbride can pose problems for his men, Evans is equally convinced that getting scores against a team who restricted Tyrone to two points from play won't be easy.

In fact, the Roscommon boss is keeping his fingers crossed that the tactical battle against Cavan, which they ultimately won hands-down, will prove a successful 'dry run' for tomorrow's showdown, although he recognises that defenders such as Andy Mallon, Ciaran McKeever and Charlie Vernon won't make life easy for his side.

"We knew Cavan would set up in a very, very defensive formation and they held us out for a long time," concedes Evans.

"There were ferocious tackles going in from Cavan. They were double-teaming and triple-teaming and it was hard to play football, but the beautiful thing was we stayed disciplined and stayed true to our philosophy.

"We got control in midfield and there were a few more chances that we should have taken, but we're out again now against Armagh so we hope to put the experience we've gained to good use."

With a place in the last 12 of the All-Ireland series the prize for the victors, tomorrow's match represents an opportunity for both sides to thrust themselves further into the reckoning.

"We met Tyrone last year in the qualifiers and everyone agreed it was a moral victory, but we know moral victories don't do you any good," added Evans.

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